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Erm, Wes Anderson Style?

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Stephanie Joan
Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Jul 31, 2012 at 5:36:14 am

I have a client who wants their short video to have a "Wes Anderson cinematic style." I've seen one or two of his films a while back, but I'm not terribly familiar with his style - besides the fact that the colors are very rich (reminds me of aged, Kodachrome in a way). Beyond that, I have no idea what makes his look unique. Can anyone here explain what they might be referring to? Unfortunately, the client isn't all that helpful in their ability to articulate their needs. Is there a picture style/post technique I can use to help achieve this look? It's a short narrative video for a farm business. Should run about four minutes long.


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Steve Crow
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Jul 31, 2012 at 4:07:32 pm

I found this 5 part series online all about Wes's style, yes Google is my friend! :-)

http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/the-substance-of-style-20120517

I am concerned however that your client has his or her own idea of what it means and is unable to explain. This type of client typically only knows what they don't want (which they can explain to you in detail) but can't find the words to express the words for what they DO want. It can be quite frustrating. To be honest, I've never had a client talk about any particular famous director's style or ask me to emulate it...if they did I would probably say to them that they should refer to MY earlier work to see what kind of "style" they can expect and while I can certainly try to capture SOME elements of a Hollywood's director signature style - realistically I don't have the tools or budget to match it shot for shot. Heck most of the time of the time I don't even have a crew except for myself. I just hope this client doesn't turn out to be a big pain for you, if so, remember it is perfectly okay to "fire your client" and move on with your life minus the headache.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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John Young
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Jul 31, 2012 at 5:59:00 pm

Steve might be right. It does have the feel of a troublesome job.

I would make sure you and the client are both on the same page about what is expected and how you are going to achieve it (including how much it will cost to achieve that).
Wes Anderson's style is heavy heavy heavy on Art Direction and Production Design. The Windmill emblem on the actor's shirt matches the Windmill pattern of the wallpaper behind him which matches the Windmill knick-knacks sitting in front of him, which match the actual Windmill you can see out the window.
I don't think the Wes Anderson style is something that can be done very cheaply. The camera moves are smooth and deliberate and everything in front of the camera is deliberate and very intricate.
It is a very distinct style, so also be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons.

Now that we have thoroughly thrown cold water on any exitement you might have had for the project, I will say this. It is a FUN style, so play around with and make it FUN. And please share the results.

John


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Steve Crow
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Jul 31, 2012 at 6:14:12 pm

John brings up a great point, but I hope nothing I've said was interpreted to throw cold water on your enthusiasm for the project, that would be a shame. I happen to live in an agricultural area too and I was just thinking about this yesterday, how I might like to show the sun rising over the fields in timelapse, close ups of dew on the ready to be picked produce, film workers in the field, maybe show a worker holding up freshly picked produced up to the sun, close ups of workers faces, early morning shots of the fields, the workers arriving, a farm tractor starting up, an interview with a local producer buyer talking about the quality of the farmer's goods which could serve as a voice under for some of the visuals I am describing, the farm owner standing in the field, then talking about why they farm, what producing high quality foods means to them and to their family...could be a lot of fun. Lots of shallow depth of field and slider shots, cool! Unfortunately, I can't just walk into a field a start filming without getting into big trouble but you have the chance now to do it for me, ha ha!! :-)

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Steve Crow
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Jul 31, 2012 at 6:28:14 pm

John brings up a great point, but I hope nothing I've said was interpreted to throw cold water on your enthusiasm for the project, that would be a shame. I happen to live in an agricultural area too and I was just thinking about this yesterday, how I might like to show the sun rising over the fields in timelapse, the farm owner getting out of bed, close ups of dew on the ready to be picked produce, film workers in the field, maybe show a worker holding up freshly picked produce up to the sun, close ups of workers faces, early morning shots of the fields, the workers arriving, a farm tractor starting up, an interview with a local produce buyer talking about the quality of the farmer's goods which could serve as a voice under for some of the visuals I am describing, the farm owner standing in the field, then talking about why they farm, what producing high quality foods means to them and to their family...could be a lot of fun. Lots of shallow depth of field and slider shots, cool! Unfortunately, I can't just walk into a field a start filming without getting into big trouble but you have the chance now to do it for me, ha ha!! :-)

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Stephanie Joan
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Jul 31, 2012 at 10:44:35 pm

Thanks for the comments, everyone. :) I do too see how this could get sticky, but I'm trying to talk it out and see what's what. So far as I can tell, it's more about color and movement for them. Lots of deadpan shots with an expression help for a few seconds, and the color. They keep talking about the color. We'll see where this goes!


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Bill Davis
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Aug 4, 2012 at 7:00:36 am

[Stephanie Joan] "So far as I can tell, it's more about color and movement for them."

Interesting.

Is there a full blown script for this? Does the script call of that kind of look?

Seems to me that folks who primarily come at projects from the perspective of things like "a look" are a little like someone planning to build a house and demanding everyone focus on the paint, carpets and drapes first. Those are certainly items to discuss, but not so much the "core" concerns that I want addressed from square one.

Still, I hope it all works out for you.

Good luck.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Noah Kadner
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Aug 8, 2012 at 12:46:01 am

Seems like you'd get that look with tons of fill light, wide angle lenses, relatively little camera movement and a lot of color grading.

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.


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Stephanie Joan
Re: Erm, Wes Anderson Style?
on Aug 10, 2012 at 3:19:25 am

Thanks, Noah - that's what I was hoping to find out! I'll shoot some tests and run it by the client. If you have any more advice, I'd be grateful.


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